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Posted by Amanda

Workspace with computer, journal, books, coffee, and glasses.It’s Links time! Here we show some cool stuff that’s been going around the internet and social media. We think it’s a nice Hump Day distraction when you need a bit of a work break.

The Ripped Bodice has started a Patreon for any romance readers who want to support the store, but can’t quite make it out to Culver City just yet. Reward perks include book recommendations and a video from Fitz!

Attention fantasy lovers! N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season has been picked up by TNT for a TV series:

N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy novel The Fifth Season is getting the drama series treatment at TNT. The project is in early development at the cable network with Leigh Dana Jackson (24: Legacy, Sleepy Hollow) set to pen the adaptation and Imperative Entertainment’s (All the Money in the World) Dan Friedkin, Tim Kring and Justin Levy serving as executive producers.

No release date as of yet, but I’m sure we’ll all have plenty of time to read (or re-read) the book before the show comes out!

One of my favorite things from Twitter is the birth of Janet the superhero.

The twig is used to “smack jerks down.” And there’s been an awesome collection of Janet fanart circulating.


Miniature charge cables

These mini cables are terrific for keeping in your bag to plug in your battery backup. They're 5" long and don't take up any room or get tangled, and they weigh nothing. There is an Android set and an iPhone set.


Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester has been adapted into a play by the Lifeline Theater in Chicago:

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, was born with wealth and good looks, but a life of privilege has rendered him unfeeling towards others. Phoebe Marlow was graced with a sparkling wit and independent spirit, but languishes under the thumb of her domineering stepmother. When this mismatched couple is thrust together by their meddling families, both rebel and their tidy little worlds spin into chaos. Midnight flights, desperate sea voyages, and scathing society hijinks ensue as these unlikely lovers labor to avoid their fate. Grab the reins and charge headlong into a topsy-turvy tale of madcap romance in this world premiere comedy based on the 1957 novel by Georgette Heyer. The production runs approximately two hours with one intermission. The novel will be on sale in the lobby.

Anyone in the Chicago area plan on seeing it?

….

Lastly, big thanks to all the readers who sent this article my way: Romance Novels, Generated by Artificial Intelligence:

I’ve always been fascinated with romance novels — the kind they sell at the drugstore for a couple of dollars, usually with some attractive, soft-lit couples on the cover. So when I started futzing around with text-generating neural networks a few weeks ago, I developed an urgent curiosity to discover what artificial intelligence could contribute to the ever-popular genre. Maybe one day there will be entire books written by computers. For now, let’s start with titles.</p?

I gathered over 20,000 Harlequin Romance novel titles and gave them to a neural network, a type of artificial intelligence that learns the structure of text. It’s powerful enough to string together words in a way that seems almost human. 90% human. The other 10% is all wackiness.

It’s hard to pick a favorite title. Sex BellsPregnant for the Rage, and Midwife Cowpoke are some top contenders.

Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!

Menage, MMA, & Historical Romance

Aug. 23rd, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

Heart of Obsidian

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh is $1.99! This is the twelfth book in the Psy-Changeling series and was incredibly anticipated when it first came out. If you’re new to the series, you probably don’t want to start with this one. However, if you’re trying to fill up your Singh library, her books are rarely on sale, so grab this one while you can.

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Only Enchanting

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh is $1.99! This is a historical romance in Balogh’s Survivors’ Club series, which Elyse has enjoyed, reviewing two of the books on the site. The series focuses on a group of veterans who survived the Napoleonic Wars, and this particular book features a marriage of convenience. A few readers complained of a slow start to the book, while others loved how the heroine helped with the hero post-war life. It has a 3.9-star rating on Goodreads.

The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors’ Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman.…

Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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and

amazon

 

 

 

Laid Bare

Laid Bare by Lauren Dane is $2.99! This is the first book in the erotic romance Brown Siblings series. There is a menage/triad element and I mostly enjoyed the book, but the heroine just seemed to suffer one bad thing after another. It’s also rather heavy on angst. Fans of darker romances with plenty of angst – this one’s for you.

It’s been ten years since clean-cut, sexy-as-hell police officer Todd Keenan had a white-hot fling with wild, uninhibited rocker Erin Brown. What happened between them got under his skin—even if love wasn’t in the cards just yet…

Now that they’re back together, picking up where they left off is tough in light of Erin’s troubled past. As Todd earns her trust, their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Todd’s best friend, Ben, comes to play, arousing their deepest fantasies. The passion they share transforms Erin, but it may not be enough to face the evil she thought she had left behind.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Raw Deal

Raw Deal by Cherrie Lynn is $1.99! This contemporary romance is the first book in the Larson Brothers series and features an MMA fighter hero. This is a romance on the heavier side with characters dealing with guilt and grief. Readers enjoyed the chemistry between the hero and heroine, as well as the forbidden romance element. However, some readers felt the hero and heroine gave into their attraction a little too quickly.

Savannah’s brother was killed in a cage fight with Mike “Red Reaper” Larson after a savage punch to the head.

When Mike shows up at the funeral, he’s nothing like Savannah expected. Gone is the fierce, brutal beast she’s seen in the cage. In his place is a beautiful man torn with guilt, seeking forgiveness, and willing to do anything to ease her pain.

Her family doesn’t approve, but her heart doesn’t stand a chance. Irresistibly drawn together, neither of them can deny the intoxicating desire unleashed between them, turning their pain into the most exquisite pleasure.

But every time Mike steps into the cage, Savannah knows she could lose him too. She can’t go through that again, but how can she let go of the one man who sets her body and soul on fire?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

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Posted by Theresa Christine Johnson

By: Ron Voigt

Paris has a secret. A hidden lesson to teach us about how diametrically-opposed groups can coexist, even the likes of “creative imaginers” and “production do-ers.”

I spent a few years working in Paris, and the Seine River is a permanent fixture in the “mise en scène” of the city. As I stayed longer and got to know the city and its people better, it became clear to me that the Seine physically separated the two halves of the city’s commerce, that one side is the creative side, and the other is the execution side. Herein lies a truth that can help all product development teams, whether designing shoe boxes or boxing gloves, writing romance films or romance copy. In fact, any company that innovates probably has a river that runs between its design and production functions.

Two Sides of the River

The two sides of Paris cannot exist without each other, but they are culturally and physically divided by the Seine. The left bank, including the Latin Quarter, Montparnasse, and Sorbonne, is all about the creative process, design and ideation. The right bank is where you’ll find the Champs Elysees, the Royal Palace, and most of the larger banks and businesses. The latter are places business is transacted, where decisions are made and products are transported.

I frequently talk with people on both sides of this metaphorical river. On the design side, we find the innovators, the artists, the visionary people that bring new ideas to life by specifying requirements, or scribing annotations, or sketching images. The production side is comprised of the makers, the ones who craft the objects, who manufacture the goods, who realize the value that’s been envisioned by the designers.

It is not much of a secret that there is conflict between the people on the left and those on the right. Each side is trying to meet their own objectives, which are often in opposition. In product companies, the left side could be the new product innovation team, graphic designers, packaging designers, product designers, 3D structural designers: all people who are rewarded for their creativity and differentiating ideas to grow the brand. These folks dwell in studios with special lighting, in coffee shops and workshops.

The production side could include your pre-press experts, procurement team, product and packaging manufacturers, logistics providers, printers, all of whom are rewarded for standardizing and simplifying to reduce operational costs. These can be found in manufacturing facilities, warehouses and shop floors, in gray cubicles and transportation centers.

The Problem of the River

The problem may not actually be that the teams are divided physically, but certainly they are divided in terms of their understanding of each other’s work. If we just take color for example, Pantone Color Institute found in its 2015 survey of over 2,200 designers that 86% of designers had little to no knowledge of the manufacturability of color in their workflow. This means that these designers had never asked their production counterparts (in a sense: their “customers”) what it is they needed from a color specification to produce the desired outcome. Those on the production side are so squeezed for time and cost that often they just take orders and do not give feedback until the result is rejected as unacceptable.

Unfortunately, when we interviewed dozens of product companies, we found that they all have roundabouts between design and production, where new products or ideas get stuck in loops (or as one executive said, “death spirals”) between designers who want something that’s new and different and production professionals who say the idea can’t be achieved or is too expensive as designed. And so, ideas go back and forth, often by trial and error.

In the roundabout, the two sides debate over trade-offs that must be made between speed, quality and cost, they negotiate and try to sort out what is actually achievable, and they define product sourcing. Between the left and right, in the roundabout, sits a tremendous amount of waste and loss of productivity. We found that just for color, companies waste 2-6 months coming to an agreement on a standard, at a cost of 10% (or more) of the project.

Bridging the River

It’s incredibly easy to cross over from design to production early on in the process, just like at the “head” of the river, to communicate a specification and receive feedback about what is and is not achievable so the spec can be adjusted. But the river widens as time goes by. As you move farther downstream, crossing back and forth becomes more treacherous, in that it takes longer and is costlier to change specs later in the process. It’s much better for designers to skip across the little creek at its head to understand as much about the production process as possible, so that learning can inform their designs, which will then be achievable downstream.

The Parisians can teach us something when we look down the Seine and see some 35 bridges connecting the two sides of Paris, allowing the free-flow of people, goods and ideas back and forth. We learn that in order to maintain the vitality of the relationship between creative and execution, we must build lots of bridges from one side to the other. And these bridges are not shoddy, rusty, temporary structures—they are investments of architecture, beautifully maintained.

Many teams simply accept that Design is disconnected from Production. They build dividers and have separate spaces. Each side may even look down on the other. But instead we should intentionally build bridges between the two sides, just like Paris did, to eliminate the roundabout entirely, establish multiple connection points, and allow the resulting fast, free-flow of ideas. This can streamline our innovation processes and create more integrated ways of working together.


Ronald Voigt
Ronald Voigt has been President of X-Rite Pantone since 2013. Previously, Ron led Commercial and Services Operations at Tektronix and was President, Industrial Automation at Kollmorgen (both Danaher companies). Before Danaher, Ron held several leadership positions at Delphi including a European based assignment in Paris and an executive residency at NUMMI, where he immersed himself in the methodologies and practices of the Toyota Production System. Ron earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. Ron and his wife Rebecca reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their 3 cats, 2 children and 1 dog.

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Posted by Theresa Christine Johnson

Cocoro Rooster is a chicken fast food restaurant that is guaranteed to make you smile. The mascot, an adorable, bug-eyed chicken, is fun and instantly recognizable, giving the brand a jolt of energy. Galilea Torres, the designer at Tropical Branding Lab behind the project, told us a bit more about creating Cocoro Rooster’s mascot, developing the bold design, creating something that would appeal to both kids and adults, and more.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Galilea Torres: Every project I work on starts with a briefing, where I ask  my clients about their target audience (to whom the product is directed to), basic aspects of their product or service (mission, vision, values, etc.), then we assign adjectives to the brand as if it were a person (appearance, personality, preferences, behavior).

Once the information we have on the brand is studied, I create a moodboard for inspiration with all the qualities and aspects that we have to highlight in it, then we initiate the sketching process, and then we move on to the digital side of things.

For this project we started by creating one of the chickens that make up the pattern used in the COCORO Rooster packaging, we geometrized it and started to carefully put it together; this is the stage that took more time to complete, since getting to the final result took long and busy hours.

For the creation of the logo, we decided to go for something that was hand-made to balance out the rigidity of the geometrical forms in the pattern and thus be a more friendly brand that was apt for public of all ages.

For the creation of the main chicken character, several proposals were made on sketch that would comply with the requirements for kids toys, then the selected character was modeled in Cinema 4d and printed for testing, giving us the result we used in the branding package.

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What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Cocoro Rooster packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Galilea Torres: The biggest goal I had while creating the branding for Cocoro Rooster was to develop a brand that was dynamic, fun and that projected such an energy that it would likely put a smile on people’s faces.

In order to achieve that, I made the decision of creating a pattern that:

  • would catch the attention of both kids and adults alike
  • had an interesting and functional composition
  • adapted to our packaging design
  • would be entertaining for the consumer
  • would ultimately generate a pleasant experience at the restaurant, creating a lovemark

What was the most challenging part of this project? What about the most enjoyable part of it?

Galilea Torres: The most complicated part of this project was to properly integrate the different illustrations that make the pattern, and later translating them onto a kid’s toy from which we intend to make collectible versions of.

The most pleasant experience of the project was to give life to the restaurant’s character, assigning a personality and appearance to it and figuring out how to bring all of the different parts of the design together until the project is completed.

How did you balance making the brand appeal to both kids and adults?

Galilea Torres: In order to make Cocoro Rooster an appealing brand for children and adults alike, we played with certain elements like the different size and color of the eyes of the chicken, along with creating a handmade logo that had more organic and natural-looking lines.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Galilea Torres: The aspect of this design that I liked the most was creating the packaging of the cup and paper bag by using the pattern I designed. It turned out to have a bold appearance and is quite fun to have in your hands, making it hard to want to get rid of.

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Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Galilea Torres: The biggest lesson I learned from ideating, developing and designing Cocoro Rooster is that the brands that captivate people start with simple shapes (circles, squares, rectangles), and the compilation of these forms can create great designs.

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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

Playa Haircare is here to help you achieve all your laidback California-inspired hair goals with some beautiful minimalistic packaging to boot.

“Thoughtfully formulated, California-crafted products that simplify your beauty routine and transform your hair. We’ve thoughtfully combined natural oils and botanicals with hand-selected clinically active ingredients for products that are truly transformative.”

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Product + Studio Photography: Dwight Eschliman
Lifestyle Beach Photo: Photographer Graham Dunn / Model Zippora Seven
Designers: Manual Creative, San Francisco
Photographer: Dwight Eschliman
Model: Zippora Seven
Location: Venice, California
 

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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

This wine is sure to stand out among any collection. Grand Napa Vineyards and CF Napa teamed up to create the design for Heir Apparent Wine. The label features a traditionally illustrated family tree that pays tribute to the lineage of the winemaking process.

“Grand Napa Vineyards came to CF Napa with the opportunity to launch a premium red wine into their portfolio. The design for this brand was inspired by the idea that great wines are inspired and improved by the lineage of great winemakers and wine that preceded them. The artistry of winemaking of each new vintage is the culmination of learning and technique learned through the years. The design makes use of a historical ‘family tree’ of exceptional winemakers and those who proceeded and thus contributed to this exceptional wine.”

 

Project’s Name: Heir Apparent
Client: Grand Napa Vineyards
Design Company: CF Napa
Designer: Antonio Rivera
Art Director: Antonio Rivera
Creative Director: Kevin Reeves
Creative Principal: David Schuemann
Location: Napa, CA USA

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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

Spanish agency GIrafa Studio has created this beautifully illustrated wine label for Celler de Capcanes’ line of wines. The earthy tones and illustration style are meant to pay tribute to the age of Modernism.

“Inspired by Modernist images, with plenty of details. This wine collection has similar characteristics, mahogany colors, golden reflections, traditional and expressive, with ripe fruit, raisin and fig aromas…”

 

Agency: GIrafa Studio
Client: Celler de Capçanes 
Illustrations: Carola Sol
Location: Barcelona, Spain

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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

Francesc Moret Studio designed this dynamic packaging for Pizza Market, a popular chain of pizzerias. The design is simple yet successful as it attracts the consumer with its playful typography and unique usage of abstract shapes.

“Approach of a global campaign celebrating the 5th anniversary of a chain of homemade pizzerias at home. Five songs are chosen to make an interpretation of these as transmitters of desire, passion and love for ‘Pizza.’ Music works as a universal tool to reach its wide target.”

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Agency: Francesc Moret Studio
Client: Pizza Market
Developer: Jonás Zamora
Copy: Lidia Gutierrez
Location: Barcelona

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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

Gitanos has created this stylish packaging for 130, a Costa Rican peanut butter brand that features natural ingredients.

“130 is a peanut butter cultivated by hand by Central American farmers and delivered to our Costa Rican cuisine.

The project is inspired by botanical illustrations to communicate the organic, natural and artisanal brand of Armonía Botánica and its product 130.”

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Agency: Gitanos
Art Direction: Daniel Montiel / Cindy Montero
Illustration: Cindy Montero
Photography: Paul Aragón
© 2017 GITANOS, San José Costa Rica.

Fuel Your Joy With ONO

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:00 am
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Posted by Natalie Mouradian

Jess Glebe has created the packaging for ONO, a new line of sweet and healthy snacks.

“‘ONO’ means ‘delicious’ in Hawaiian. It’s also an acronym for ‘Outrageous, Nutritious, Organically delicious.’ ONO stands by its brand name and mantra, along with the constant pursuit to Fuel Your Joy!"

"Rich with organic superfoods, ONO Bites sustain energy, health, and well-being and leave people feeling more connected to themselves, to others, and to the planet. We sought to visually achieve this idea of connectivity and wholeness when designing the ONO identity. Each letter flows into the next, dynamically linked together. Fueled by the superfoods contained inside, the ONO logo is in constant motion. 

To capture the natural texture and simple nature of the ONO Bites main ingredients — nuts, Yacón syrup, Himalayan salt, and flax seeds — we photographed the ingredients from above and feature them across the top of the stand-up pouch. Resealable and recyclable, the pouch is designed for an active lifestyle, and its rich, brown tone and soft matte varnish look and feel good enough to eat."

 

Designer: Jess Glebe, Jess Glebe Design
Copywriter: Caitlin Riley, C.R. Copywriting
Printer/Manufacturer: PBFY Flexible Packaging
Client: ONO Bakery, Bryn Mawr, PA
Location: USA

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Posted by Guest Reviewer

NB: Instead of focusing on a particular book or author, Guest Ranter Emerentia wants to discuss the trope of academic, brainy heroines! Also, feel free to recommending so good academic heroines in the comments. 

Emerentia spent her teenage years ignoring the protest “but you’re a girl!” every time she mentioned her interest in physics, and went on to become an astrophysicist anyway. When she doesn’t study black holes, she is passionate about diversity and inclusivity in the science community, and can also frequently be found reading (and nitpicking) romance and science fiction novels.

Dear Romance Author Who Writes About Academics,

I have a bone to pick with you. I like your books. They’re generally fun, witty and entertaining. They make me laugh or swoon and sometimes both. They give me an entertaining few hours.

But then you decide to make your heroine a scientist. By scientist, I mean “walking and talking collection of horrible cliches,” and suddenly I want to throw your book at the nearest wall.

Do I need utter realism in my romance novels? No. But I need to be able to empathize with the characters, and they need to be at least somewhat believable. The caricatures of women in academia I see described in your book embody exactly the stereotypes that, as a female physicist, I fight against every day in my real life. When I see the same stereotypes woefully exaggerated and glorified in books, it makes me feel so unbearably angry and sad and helpless that I can’t keep reading.

Representation in books matters. Books have the ability to shape our thinking and our ability to empathize with others. So here are a bunch of tropes that I can’t stand in a heroine who is also an academic. I’m not saying that none of them exist in real life, or that any of them are intrinsically bad, but the fact that all female academics I’ve seen described in romance novels so far basically exhibited the majority of these characteristics (and others) makes me think there’s something seriously wrong with how society views women in science.

1.) The heroine has four PhDs before she’s 25, and is clearly a “prodigy” or “brainiac.”

First of all, really? It’s either “Oh, I’ve never been good at maths, haha” (that pisses me off, too, but that’s a rant for another day) or “I’m so smart I did four PhDs and didn’t think of anything else, ever.” Nothing in between? Nobody who maybe started out struggling in school, but then ended up discovering a love for, say, chemistry, and persevered?

Here’s something that anyone with a PhD will tell you: intelligence alone is not a great predictor of success in academia. The main ingredients of a PhD are: (1) time, (2) perseverance. This is the thing that gets me with the four-PhDs-before-25 scenario: even in the best-case scenario, in science, a PhD will take between three and seven years (YMMV depending on subject). That’s a long time. And a lot of that can’t be cut short, because experiments take time, field work takes time, data analysis takes time, and writing papers takes time. Most of which is out of the PhD student’s control. Do we really have to settle for the lazy “she’s so super smart she could do it with her eyes closed with a snap of her fingers” method of heroine development?

2.) The heroine has “no time for anything outside of research” because she’s such a prodigy and brainiac that it never occurred to her to do anything else, ever.

Are most academics driven and often work long hours? Sure. “Publish or perish” is real. But the academics I know who are interested in a topic long enough to complete a PhD on it are generally also interested in other subjects – otherwise you wouldn’t see me writing rants about scientists in books! And if you make your character all about her research, how does that ever make for anything more than a one-dimensional stick figure? How can you ever actually add depth to a character when her defining characteristic is “does work”? How about also making a heroine an activist, or someone passionate about rock climbing, or running a cooking club for her friends? Literally anything that would show us she has a life outside of work and adds some dimensions to her character.

3.) The heroine is a virgin, because of course she is.

I have no issues with virgins, but somewhere on a blog, I read this comment about a heroine: ‘She has four PhDs, she has no time for anything outside work, let alone sex’. And that just made me sad. See also my point about “interests outside the lab” above, and yes, one of them could (and maybe should) be sex. I know there’s this idea that academics are all brainiacs who don’t think of anything other than science all day and all night, but seriously, we went through college just like everyone else. And not all of us knew at age four that we were going to cure cancer and henceforth did nothing but study microbiology all day and all night. It won’t diminish your heroine’s love for research or dedication to her work if she goes out on a date once in awhile. Many of my female friends in academia tell me they find dating quite frustrating, because apparently many men find women with PhDs somewhat intimidating. How about including that in a book for a change?

4.) The heroine approaches everything in life, including relationships and sexuality, as an experiment.

There actually is a tendency in particular among physicists to think that because they’re good at problem solving in one area, they’re good at solving problems in others (whether they actually solve problems in those areas or create more is a different question). This largely does not apply to daily life. I don’t approach cooking the way I do data analysis, nor do I set up experiments and control groups to figure out how the washing machine works. Honestly, it’s not nature, so doing experiments is stupid if you can just as easily read the manual or recipe or find a YouTube tutorial online. Your heroine, being super clever and all that, should probably know this.

I’m still waiting for the romance novel where the inevitable brainiac scientist virgin heroine has sex, hates it, and goes “Well, N=1 is not a statistically sound sample, and I’ll have to control for confounding variables, too,” so she goes out and has multiple sex orgies with a hundred different people in different positions. Then, of course, she performs multi-variate regression to figure out if she actually likes sex or not.

5.) The heroine is socially awkward.

The real trope here is “I study the universe/mathematical equations/bacteria/X so I don’t understand people.” There certainly are socially awkward scientists. I don’t at all pretend to be the most suave person on the planet. But that doesn’t mean we’re all incapable of finishing a whole sentence without stammering, or generally act like a grown-ass human being in the company of others. I suppose it’s difficult to write an interesting conversation if “intelligent” and “science!” are the heroine’s only characteristics and interests, so it makes sense in that case to describe her as socially awkward. But let’s call it what it is: a cop-out.

6.) The heroine dresses like a nun, has the worst haircut ever, and never wears make-up.

That’s one I have mixed feelings about. Because there’s a kernel of truth in some of that, but not for the reasons authors seem to think. In books, the heroine is usually too busy thinking about her world-changing science, so she doesn’t have time to think about trivial things like clothes or hair or make-up. I guess that makes for a good Cinderella-type story, and that’s a trope that seems to be universally popular (because women are only worth their looks, <insert eye roll here>). I’m sure there are scientists like that, but I also know a scientist who runs a successful fashion blog aside from stuff like, you know, figuring out how black holes work. I have another scientist friend with whom I trade YouTube links for make-up tutorials.

The sad reality is: appearances matter, and they matter all the more for female academics. I’m a physicist. I have to work quite hard to be taken seriously by men at all, so I’m actually very conscious about all of my appearance in a work context, all the time. If I dress too casually, will my students take me seriously? If I wear a skirt at work, will the visiting professor think I’m the admin and ask me to bring him coffee? If I wear this blouse at a conference, will my expertise in the subject wrote my thesis in be challenged even more often than it usually is? I wish I could just not care and wear whatever I want, but I can’t, not if I want to keep having a career. I feel like there are probably interesting stories and topics to explore here, but that sadly never happens, because that wouldn’t fit into the whole make-over narrative.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of that trope is that on the one hand, it may seem modern and progressive to write a heroine who is smart and in a stereotypically male profession. But at the same time, any progress is negated by giving her a storyline that literally tells the reader the heroine’s worth depends solely on her looks and ability to attract a man. Yes, because that’s the real reason someone spends their entire twenties in higher education on abysmal pay.

I don’t want this to get any longer than it already is, so I’ll stop adding gripes here. My point is, there are lots of interesting topics and (romantic) conflicts to explore for a heroine who is in academia without making her a walking, taking assembly of tropes. Pop culture hasn’t been very good at this, so you have a real chance here to write something new and different. Please write a book with a heroine I can actually identify with, and who I don’t want to take aside, shake really hard and then spend some serious time mentoring. If you need advice on what academia is like, or what real scientists are like, please talk to us! I for one would be happy to help.

As I said above, representation matters. Representing female academics in this one-dimensional way, as hapless brainiacs with no life experience and no character traits outside of “does research” perpetuates harmful stereotypes, and those of us in academia spend a great deal of time and energy fighting exactly those cliches every day. While I don’t think a romance novel will be the deciding factor in a woman’s decision not to go into academia, it’s yet another piece in the larger puzzle of societal expectations about what professions women choose and how they conduct themselves in these professions. Please allow us to be real human beings in your books, so that for a change, I can enthusiastically recommend them to all my scientist friends!

#437523 - Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

Aug. 22nd, 2017 11:50 pm
[syndicated profile] tastespotting_feed
998229

A delicious, crunchy Mexican-style corn salad. Lovely with spiced chicken or steak, and great in a burrito {recipe}

craving more? check out TasteSpotting

#437522 - Brown Sugar Cupcake Recipe

Aug. 22nd, 2017 11:50 pm
[syndicated profile] tastespotting_feed
998227

This is an absolutely delicious Brown Sugar Cupcake recipe. The molasses in the brown sugar adds so much of depth and flavor to this cupcake and Buttercream. {recipe}

craving more? check out TasteSpotting

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Hardison dies in Plan M

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